Dozens of UNC Students and community members gathered outside of UNC’s South Building on Wednesday afternoon to protest Silent Sam – the Confederate monument on the campus – by banging on drums, blowing through horns and whistles and shaking noise makers. The purpose, protesters said, was to make Chancellor Carol Folt aware that until the removal of the statue, there would be no more “business as usual.”
Among the first on the scene was protester Alex Joustra, who said that one of the objectives of this protest was to demand Folt’s attention.
“[Folt] hasn’t shown up to any of our other protests, she hasn’t made any attempt to be in contact with the people that really, on the street, want to see this statue removed,” said Joustra. “So our thought was, if she wasn’t going to come out and see us, we’ll bring it to her doorstep and maybe she’ll hear us, because we’re loud.”
Folt has said she would order the statue to be removed if she felt the university had the legal unilateral authority to do so, but has maintained that a 2015 law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly prevents her from issuing that directive.
Despite this, Joustra and his fellow protesters feel that inaction speaks louder than words.
UNC Junior Tahj Warren said she feels that Silent Sam is a direct assault to her as a black student.
“This is a public university, so we have students of all creeds, colors, nations and backgrounds that go here,” said Warren. “Why would you have something that represents oppression to one group of people if this is supposed to be an open university to all people?”
Protesters are continuing to hold sit-ins at Silent Sam from 8:30 A.M. until sundown every day, and more protests are in the planning stages.